How does Steinbeck use the character of Crooks in the novel as a whole to convey ideas about America in the 1930s?how would you write the conclusion to this question? 

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck uses the character of Crooks to convey ideas about America in the 1930s. America was a racist nation. Crooks is a black man who is ostracized by the other ranch hands because he is black. Because Crooks is black, he has to keep himself separated from the other white ranch hands. He even has to sleep in separate quarters:

Crooks, the despairing old Negro stable worker, lives alone in the harness room, ostracized from the ranch hands. 

Clearly, racism is an issue in Of Mice and Men. Crooks is bitter because of it. He has a negative attitude. He tells Lennie that his dream will not come true. It's as if he doesn't want to see anybody happy because he isn't happy:

On the one occasion when he briefly talks to Lennie and Candy, the bunkhouse worker who wants to be part of the dream farm Lennie and George are planning to buy, Crooks tells them they will never attain their dream.

Crooks's attitude is understandable. Racism can make a person bitter.  No doubt, during the 1930s, the Civil War had not been over but by sixty-five years. Times had not changed much from the existing prejudices in America. Steinbeck carefully points this out by showing the way Crooks is treated by the white ranch hands. Crooks is allowed to socialize during Christmas:

Crooks is excluded from the rest of the ranch hands, except at Christmas when the boss brings in a gallon of whiskey for the entire crew.

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Of Mice and Men

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